Philadelphia police commissioner says department not taking 'foot off gas' as city records deadliest year since 2007

Maggie Kent Image
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
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As Philadelphia continues to combat the alarming gun violence, 2020 is now the deadliest year since 2007, and there are three months still to go.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The police commissioner says gun violence in Philadephia is an epidemic that the department is battling.

"We are not giving up, we are not waving the white flag, and we are not taking our foot off the gas," said Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.

The city controller said Tuesday that Philadelphia is on par to reach 450 murders this year.

"At the start of a new week, we once again find ourselves lamenting another weekend marred by gun violence. Yesterday, we experienced a Monday where six people were senselessly killed," said Commissioner Danielle Outlaw in a press conference Tuesday morning.

According to figures released by Philadephia officials, shooting incidents are up 57% over 2019 rates. The number of shooting victims is up 47% compared to last year.

Homicide numbers have now eclipsed last year's total for the entire year, now standing at 365 murders.

READ MORE: Lowe's employee shot 9 times, killed in South Philadelphia store's parking lot

In Tuesday's press conference, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw touted a ten percent reduction in homicides in the last month. But the fact remains that this year homicides are up 40%.

"The notion that the police department alone can cure the pandemic of gun violence is not only erroneous but it absolves other stakeholders their duty to participate in this public health crisis," said Outlaw.

Mayor Jim Kenney says economic factors are also leading to the violence spike and that police officers are doing their best.

"They are patrolling our streets trying to get between combatants that are dead set on killing each other. If you couple in the pandemic and economic crisis and the rising gun violence it's all just a toxic stew," said Mayor Kenney.

READ MORE: Families touched by gun violence surge in Philadelphia want answers, change

Commissioner Outlaw says technology will help in solving violent crimes. She's asking for cellphones for homicide detectives and video viewing stations for investigators to be able to look through surveillance.

"We have refocused our efforts in the budget and what we're asking for but technology is a huge piece of that," said Outlaw.

Working to combat this public health crisis on the ground is Anthony Murphy of Town Watch Integrated Services. Murphy says we to become more social, even in a pandemic.

"Philadelphia is known as the city of neighborhoods, so if you are the city of neighborhoods it means that you are engaged with your neighborhood by interfacing," said Anthony Murphy.

Another disturbing statistic released by the city: the number of children shot this year is up 67%.

On Wednesday, the mayor and city council will announce a lawsuit filed against the state to allow for legislators to enact stricter gun laws within city limits.